Horoscopes | Week of August 18-24, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Squeeze… hold… push… one more sit-up, one more leg-lift, one more stack of papers to be sent out or filed away, and one more big valiant effort made on your part… and yes, soon, Aries, the planets and I will let you off the big work hook. Already, this week, your ruler Mars is moving out of the get-your-shit-done-or-else 6th house—and into the relationship-oriented region of your solar chart, where you'll have a hard time not caring what certain You-Know-Whos are doing with themselves. A week from now, he'll be joined by both Mercury and Venus, virtually ensuring that your next phase of time will largely involve realigning yourself to partner thinking, rather than the unilateral 'must do my work!' mindset that you (presumably) fostered over these past several weeks. Suddenly, you'll have to answer to other people again—and they to you—in a fashion that can be both wholly enjoyable and a bit irksome, since togetherness is sometimes known to slow things down. In any case, you'll surely be glad to pop your head back out of the workshop, studio or cubicle, and get reacquainted with the important folks in your life. But for one more week, can you squeeze or hold or push just a smidgeon more? I know you can…


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Well, if you're going to buck the trend of 'safely belonging' by going against the crowd's idea of what's 'appropriate'—and/or if you're about to actually piss somebody off doing so—at least make sure you have a really good time doing it. And perhaps more importantly, Taurus, do it because it feels so liberating to behave exactly how you really want to, appropriateness be damned. One thing's for sure: You will grab the attention of the person you're hoping will notice. Maybe in the process you'll ruffle feathers or offend sensibilities (that is, if you're going all out on the planets' assignment for you this week), but nobody's liable to get bored. Dare I ask the obvious, but who the hell cares if certain other folks are shocked by your provocative playfulness or the no-bones-about-it directness with which you outwardly state your opinions or desires? Their prudishness is their problem. Soon enough, you're going to find yourself neck-deep in a mountain of important items that will require you to, yet again, put the frivolity aside for a spell and get a shit-ton of stuff accomplished. Until then, make your free time count… and definitely go for 'brash' over 'bashful'.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): That crazy world out there ain't gettin' any calmer any time sooner. In fact, Gemini, with Mars moving his butt out of your 4th house of private domestic affairs and into the fun-zone of the 5th, I'd expect your outside activity levels to soon razz back up to a more-usual high. That also means the household projects you're halfway through attending to (or just about to launch into) may soon find themselves returning to the bottom of the priority list, and the familial matters you've been delving into (instead of, say, returning every silly phone call or text message at lighting-speed) could lose their urgency midstream. So cherish those quiet (or not-so-quiet) moments at home when you can get 'em, since the noisy hassles of a brisk social existence will soon be re-overtaking your life. Shift into overdrive on those projects and matters you imagined, with all sincere hope, you'd have more time to work on. Getting them to a completed state (or as close as possible) over the next week or two could save you the unnecessary burden of months of reminding yourself what you left hanging. Even as your social sensors are starting to pick up their signals, strong as ever once again, you might want to retreat from view just a little bit more… at least until you put Humpty Dumpty back together again.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Changing your mind: It's not just a woman's (or a Gemini's) prerogative anymore. In fact, doing the opposite of what you said you were going to do way back when (a few weeks seems like an eternity these days, doesn't it?) may be the healthiest option out there. And grabbing straight for that activity you swore you'd never in a million years try can deliver quite a titillatingly cathartic sensation (not entirely unlike a long-called-for orgasm). Should someone present you a new way of looking at a certain situation, Cancer, please do not let your first reaction be to automatically dismiss it or start arguing why it could never be that way. (Okay, if that is your first reaction, at least push through to the second and/or third one.) Just because you wouldn't ever have dreamt it up yourself, that's no reason to resist. Many of the best ideas arise when something so oppositional to our already-agreed-upon stance presents itself that we are forced to contemplate (or yell and scream about) the differences… eventually leading us to go for the very 180-degrees-across-the-circle thing we started out claiming to detest. Even if your reversal isn't quite so dramatic (or even terribly significant), it's still your right to take it. Change your mind, if that's what you need to do. It is kind of fun to throw 'em all off, don't you know…


LEO (July 23-August 22): If you believe in the value of planting seeds of intention, which, when left alone to sprout and shoot up and flower, eventually yield the fruits of our conscious energy… well, Leo, I'd suggest heading out to the backyard right now, digging a nice deep hole somewhere with good soil and plenty of sunlight, and sowing the first spores of what will later blossom into a healthy and productive money tree. With intentions, it's important to be as precise as possible about what you want (and, yes, please be careful what you wish for), while reserving enough wiggle-room for the universe to act in its mysterious ways (since it has access to a wiser logic than we mortals can understand). And don't forget to throw in the part about not doing harm to anyone else, nor inhibiting their free will in any way. Then, forget about the whole thing, a step in the process that should be relatively easy to do in the coming few weeks, as your schedule will shortly be jam-packed with casual dates and important meetings and silly evenings with friends and all other sorts of appointments with the parade of people who are dying to see you or who you are dying to see. Think of this horoscope as one last reminder to concentrate on laying the building blocks that, over time, will come to serve as a solid foundation for everything else you want to experience. You still have a few spare moments to attend to this stuff now. Pretty soon, you won't.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): I'm already thinking that, once I inform you of my astro-take on your week ahead, Virgo, you're not going to believe me. I know the world inside your head has a tendency to obscure certain realities, due to the fact that you usually observe every one of your own little gestures and deeds from behind that (rather unforgiving) magnifying glass of yours. But here goes, anyhow: For one week only, you've been granted the gift of flawlessly crisp and cool communications. This ultra-rare honor entitles you to express your genuine sentiments with just enough specificity (but not so much that it makes anybody else nervous), and an added sparkle of likeability (to offset the chance someone might 'take it wrong'), that you get your point across with the greatest surety and the least emotional fuss. Pretty awesome, eh? Don't waste it, then, on parroting diplomatically crafted scripts ('stay on the official message'?) or lodging avoidant dodges so as not to actually say anything. This is your moment to show your true colors, your particular tastes and habits, what's actually on your mind. Worry about being real, not easy-going. (The 'easy' part happens all by itself.) And though the inner magnifying-glass critic might attempt to faithlessly halt you, on the grounds that being so direct and pointed is too, well, direct and pointed, I say to ignore him. If you're ever planning to reveal an uncensored glimpse into your thought process, this is a prime week.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Your day, Libra, or (more properly) your series of many days, is well on its way to materializing… kicked off this week with the entry of Mars into your sign on Tuesday (Aug 19). Mercury and your ruling lady Venus follow next week, culminating in a super-empowering triple conjunction in your sign during the week of September 8. What this amounts to, in essence, is a glorious period of time for putting forth your greatest efforts of the year—and it all starts to begin now. I'm not accidentally representing the Department of Redundancy Department when I use the phrase 'starts to begin', since you're really not all the way into it until the end of next week. As such, there's still a lot of stuff that could unfold this week, due to larger forces totally beyond your control. (One possible manifestation: Due to Mars already being in your sign, others might subconsciously view you as a threat… and seek to undermine your burgeoning power before you have a chance to fully embrace it. They might succeed in the short-term, but they won't likely win the war.) Rather than fighting against any of it (literally or on the emotional level) and needlessly draining your strength, I suggest you hold your breath and simply let the waves hold you. Soon enough, you will make it back to shore… with ample opportunity to sort everything out (and then some). For now, just acclimate yourself.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): In case you hadn't noticed, Scorpio, quite a few of your latest horoscopes have contended with questions about your relationship to the people surrounding you; 'your social affiliations' might be a good phrase to summarize these concerns. But as the days turn into weeks and a new season flirts with unfolding, you're rapidly moving away from the relevance of such questions… if not away from the actual people themselves (whether temporarily or on a more lasting basis) that conjured their consideration in the first place. This isn't a matter of having 'won' or 'lost' either. It's merely a natural and periodic shift in gravity—for a while you're in the center of interpersonal collaboration or controversy, and then you max out and start receding into the backdrop, for a bowlful of peace-and-quiet stew. That's how the tides work, after all. You're reaching that point when you've done just about everything to do in this certain circle of affairs (and if there's still a couple items remaining, hop to 'em already)… because, aware of it or not, you've had just about enough. You crave one or two—or a hundred—steps in the other direction from all you've been caught in for the last two months. Rightfully so, my dear. Now, how to do it gracefully… ?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): In light of the external signs revealed to you last week, with regards to your current professional or public-community status, you're well positioned to use your week ahead to proactively engage with whatever manifestations you're not so pleased with. For instance, Sagittarius, if you recently said more than you perhaps should have, you can freely admit that—as well as explain the reasons why you wished you'd put it differently. Or if you received a less-than-stellar result or review, due to somehow having missed the mark with your actions, you might want to accept responsibility for the disappointment—and, while you're at it, pledge to do a more comprehensive job next time. And wherever your hastiness or pride, immaturity or underestimation may've created an unintended mess that you now find yourself sitting in the middle of, this is your chance to clean it up. But a word of warning: When you go to 'undo' your error, oversight or lapse in judgment, please be sure to take a drastically different approach. Otherwise, your similar efforts will lead to similarly unfortunate results. The biggest key here is humility… so if you can't quite see how to readdress the issue from a drastically different angle, consider asking advice from someone whose own ambitions are yielding observable success.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Chief strategist hat on, please. Start weaving your plan for world domination (or the closest thing to it in your immediate sphere of activity) now. You hold this capacity for constructing airtight methodologies (complete with contingency back-ups, even) that'll ensure, in advance, your staying power in whatever context you put your mind to it. This is a superb time to put it to work for you, Capricorn. Over the course of the next month, a flurry of 10th-house activity (first from Mars, then Mercury and Venus) will brighten your public image, in shades most flattering to whatever you decide (ahead of time) to present yourself as… so I think you'd better make the call as soon as possible ('how do I want them to view me?'), so you can start crafting the impression right away. To folks of other zodiac tribes, this whole description might sound a bit… I don't know, contrived or engineered or a bit too calculating for their tastes. Ignore such self-righteous cries for so-called 'authenticity', as if we don't all put on performances for everyone around us every damn day of our lives. There's nothing wrong with choosing a goal, then carrying out a structured series of actions designed to maximize one's chances of achieving it. And yes, it requires a huge amount of people-pleasing… which, contrary to the critics (envious, perhaps, that they can't sustain a strategy without spontaneous emotion getting in the way), doesn't necessarily imply inauthenticity. Why can't you be sincere, while, at the same time, stroking a few egos?


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): For the first time in what may seem like forever, that frustratingly complicated situation is beginning to clear itself up… thanks, in no large part (presumably), to the efforts you've put in to iron out some of the nastier kinks. (And if no effort has been made, the situation will still likely loosen up some, as a sheer factor of time passed… though the issues you neglected to resolve will follow you around, whether or not the current harbinger has been exed from your life.) There is light at the end of the tunnel, the reflection of bigger and brighter things you're due to focus yourself on, now that this crap is finally pulled together in a digestible package. This week is a wonderful one for uttering any last dangling remnants from the past couple months, knowing that, without full disclosure, you're still being a bit dishonest. Because the bulk of the complicating drama has already been played out, you're likelier to receive a more sympathetic (or at least wearied) ear to your concluding airings. Naturally, once you finally say it all, you'll be giving up your ability to tiptoe around the rules, loitering in the supposedly safe 'fuzzy areas' that we create when omitting key pieces of info. Of course, if you've done your job, there's no need to loiter there… nor need you continue looking over your shoulder, to see if someone's about to find you out.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): If, for one second, you honestly believe all the closets have been cleared out, the cobwebs removed and the skeletons hung out for all the neighbors to gawk out, I think you may be seriously kidding yourself, Pisces. But I'm not terribly concerned for you, alas, as you head into (yes, it's true) an even more intense few weeks ahead. Let me be clearer, however. The major surprises, explosions and/or upsets have, likelier than not, already taken place. This 'intensity' I'm describing is more like the morbidly fascinating process of digesting the aftermath—picking through the bones, sorting 'keepers' out from the discard pile, shaking off the dust, and generally reorienting yourself to a new environment (whether literal or psychological). Such moments, though not always convenient or carefree, comprise some of the deeper, meatier and more meaningful ones we experience in life… as we're forced into confronting our most love/hate, do-or-die, what-have-I-got-to-lose realizations that represent what we're truly feeling when things stop being polite and start getting real. Be fearless, and embrace this process with unabashed eagerness. Despite what's considered acceptable among those who just don't 'get' you, you live for this stuff. And for those of you not exactly vibing with what I wrote (as if no such intensity appears to be calling you), try looking at wherever your secret resentments or not-so-secret impatience is beginning to build up.